21 October 2020 -- London, UK -- Burma Human Rights Network denounces Burma’s decision to cancel voting for ethnic regions of the country with the general election only weeks away. The Union Election Commission canceled voting in parts of Arakan, Kachin, Kayin, Mon, Shan, and Bago regions because they claimed those areas could not guarantee free and fair elections. The regions listed have had some issues with conflict in the past, but most have not had significant issues for years. In Arakan State alone this will disenfranchise more than a million voters.
“The decision to negate the votes of ethnic minorities in order to ensure an election is democratic is absurd on its face. It is especially telling that people historically oppressed by the military and government are the ones told that they cannot have a say in the general election. The Election Commission must reverse their decision, even in Arakan, and work towards ensuring the safety and transparency of elections, rather than thinking it is a solution to deny minorities of fundamental rights,” Said BHRN Executive Director, Kyaw Win.
23 September 2020 – London, UK – Burma Human Rights Network is alarmed by the recent deployment of an estimated 2,500 troops in Northern Arakan State along with NLD leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s recent reference in a campaign speech to the allocation of Kyat 20 Billion ($15,178,990) for the country’s border wall with Bangladesh. This all comes as BHRN has received a number of reports of civilian deaths and injuries, including among women and children, in recent weeks from stray bullets and artillery amid fighting between the Burmese Army and Arakan Army in Arakan State.
“Burma appears to be taking steps to escalate the conflict in Arakan State at exactly the time they need to be de-escalating it. Between the rise in civilian casualties and the spread of Covid-19, Burma needs to do everything it can to reduce hostilities in the region and tend to its citizens’ needs. By building up troops in the area they are putting more civilians in danger, heightening tensions with Bangladesh, and pushing the civil war into a new and deadlier phase. A ceasefire in Arakan State is long overdue, and it is vital that all parties come to the table to negotiate,” said BHRN Executive Director, Kyaw Win.
20 September 2020 – London, UK – Burma Human Rights Network calls on Burma’s major political parties to demand restraint and civility among their members and supporters. The Union Election Commission approved election campaigning to begin on 8th September for the upcoming election on 8th November 2020. Since this time, campaigns by members of the two major rival political parties – the National League for Democracy and the Union Solidarity and Development Party — have been marred by violence and may breach the rule of law.
“We are deeply concerned about incidents of violence and the potential for far worse violence in the near future targeting religious and ethnic minorities. Burma’s two largest political parties must take immediate steps to curtail escalations between their members. Any members or supporters involved in violence and threatening religious and ethnic minorities for political purposes should be suspended immediately from the party,” said BHRN Executive Director, Kyaw Win.
London, UK -- In response to a Joint Statement issued by Belgium, the Dominican Republic, Estonia, France, Germany, Tunisia, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America following the United Nations Security Council Consultation on Myanmar, Burma Human Rights Network calls on these nations to promote consequences for Burma’s failures, rather than more recommendations. The statement details a number of steps they believe Burma could take in regard to upcoming elections, the civil war in Rakhine, the spread of Covid-19, and concerns related to the Rohingya in Burma and in Bangladesh. The statement does not acknowledge all the ways in which Burma is currently doing the exact opposite of what they have recommended, nor does it present any consequences for their continued failure to comply with international law.